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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2012!

Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2012

What is the event about

Countdown to a New Year
No New Year is complete without a fabulous countdown. And what better way to celebrate it at the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2011/12.

More than just a year-end commemorative party, the countdown event takes place right at the centre of the luxurious Marina Bay waterfront, bringing together collective wishes and aspirations from Singaporeans and visitors alike.

Projecting thousands of wishes and thoughts into the New Year is the Wishing Spheres Project, a significant component of the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown. The project invites everyone to pen their New Year’s resolutions on a wishing sphere, each representing hope, belief, new possibilities and the promise of a brighter tomorrow. All 20,000 wishing spheres will be launched into Marina Bay – the bay of hope and light – to form part of a stunning visual arts installation.

And no countdown is complete without the show-stopping pyrotechnics. Timed to an original music composition by Cultural Medallion winner, Iskandar Ismail, the magnificent eight minute fireworks is choreographed to light the sky in an octagon formation. So wherever one chooses to be around the bay during the countdown can get a clear view of the dazzling spectacle.

Be part of the action happening at The Float@Marina Bay as regional and local artistes whip the crowd into countdown frenzy. Visitors can log onto www.marina-bay.sg/countdown for more information on the various fringe events happening around the Bay on New Year's Eve.

Watch live streaming video from marinabaycountdownsg at livestream.com

Now THAT'S a tablet computer Samsung unveils 40-inch Full HD touchscreen !

Now THAT'S a tablet computer: Samsung unveils £7,500 40-inch Full HD touchscreen table that can 'feel' 50 touches at once

Last updated at 5:10 PM on 18th November 2011

The multi-touch technology that Apple pioneered with its iPhone is now everywhere in the modern world - but Microsoft is about to pump up the technology to a new level.
The next generation of its 'Surface' table is a 40-inch touchscreen that can feel 50 'touches' at once - and can also 'feel' pens, pointers or anything else placed on the table. Screens on gizmos such as iPhone can only feel fingers. 
The Full HD screen has a high-powered Windows PC built in - and is just four inches thick.
The Surface touchscreen is just four inches thick - it can be used in 'table' format, or even hung on the wall like a painting
The Surface touchscreen is just four inches thick - it can be used in 'table' format, or even hung on the wall like a painting

Microsoft's Surface display is a 40-inch multi-touch screen which overcomes the limitations of most touchscreen technology - the fact that the screens are bamboozled if too many people touch at once
Microsoft's Surface display is a 40-inch multi-touch screen which overcomes the limitations of most touchscreen technology - the fact that the screens are bamboozled if too many people touch at once
The screen works by shining light upwards through the screen, which bounces back to a layer of sensors behind the screen. 
It can detect not only fingers but objects on the table - whereas other touchscreen technologies are limited in what they can detect. 
For instance, touching an iPhone screen with a pen will have no effect.
With that in mind, the tablet ships with apps allowing children to paint or draw directly on screen - or even edit photos and upload them to Facebook. 
Being able to move objects on top of the screen revolutionises how the touchscreen can be used - you could play board games on it, or use it to plan buildings
Being able to move objects on top of the screen revolutionises how the touchscreen can be used - you could play board games on it, or use it to plan buildings

Microsoft's previous Surface table was a bit of a cheat - the surface was semi-transparent, and touch was detected by cameras underneath the table.
The result was that displays using Surface looked a little washed-out - and the table wasn't as responsive as multi-touch touchscreens.

At CES 2011, Microsoft unveiled the next generation of the Microsoft Surface experience featuring PixelSense™ technology, which gives LCD panels the power to see without the use of cameras.  
The table will also include apps that allow people to 'paint' directly onto the table, or edit photos then add them directly to their Facebook accounts
The table will also include apps that allow people to 'paint' directly onto the table, or edit photos then add them directly to their Facebook accounts
The screen can hang on a wall, be built into a wall, or comes with standard leg supports.If that doesn't fit with your home, you can choose your own legs.
The gizmo was named a 2011 ‘Best of What’s New’ award winner by Popular Science magazine.
The Surface SUR40 is available for pre-order now for £7499.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2063300/Surface-table-Samsung-unveils-40-inch-touchscreen-feel-50-hands-once.html#ixzz1hfKEwtlQ

The U.S. Military Wants a Battlefield-Ready Flying Car

The Pentagon wants a flying car, and one company says it's ready to deliver. Here's a look at one of the latest out-there military concepts: an armored, armed, airborne Humvee.

By Sharon Weinberger

flying car sketch

Who needs a flying car? The U.S. military thinks it does. The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is seeking proposals for a Humvee that can fly over insurgents, conduct night raids or whisk injured soldiers away from the battlefield. Textron, the defense company, says it has the solution—and they have the sketches to prove it.

Sure, the concept looks like a model car you might buy at Toys R' Us, but the technology is sound, and the engineers think it could be ready to fly relatively soon, according to Steven Reid, vice president of unmanned aircraft systems at AAI, the Textron subsidiary that produced the Shadow UAV. "Envision a Humvee-like vehicle with wings that fold out from the side and attach just above the rear door," Reid says.

Textron's plan is to integrate its work on military ground vehicles and unmanned aircraft like the Shadow, and combine it with licensed technology from its partnership with Carter Aviation Technologies, a small Texas-based outfit working on a personal air vehicle for the commercial market. Textron is incorporating Carter's slowed compound rotor technology, which uses rotors that are similar to helicopter blades but heavily weighted in the tips. As the aircraft takes off, the rotor provides lift, but as the vehicle gains speed, the rotor slows down and the wings provide lift.

The vehicle would have a roof panel that contains wings that rotate and fold out from the sides, as well as a mast that comes up and houses the slowed rotor system. Coming out the back of the vehicle is a shrouded, ducted fan that provides forward motion, and then a series of control surfaces that help regulate speed, as well as pitch, roll and yaw.

To win funding for the project that DARPA formally calls Transformer, the company has to meet a challenging set of demands. The defense agency has asked companies and researchers to come up with a flyable vehicle that can carry up to four people, is capable of vertical takeoff and landing and can travel without having to refuel at ranges for 250 nautical miles (with a combination of driving and flying). While DARPA officials have talked about such a vehicle for avoiding roadside bombs, they are also considering it for a variety of missions, including "strike and raid, intervention, interdiction, insurgency and counterinsurgency, reconnaissance, medical evacuation and logistical supply."

For veteran defense companies like Textron, the DARPA project did elicit some surprise. "I have to admit," recalls Reid, "we scratched our heads and asked: Is this real?" But if the goal of DARPA's Transformer project to hunt down innovative technologies that may lie resident at nontraditional defense companies, then Textron's approach, which draws heavily on Carter Aviation, may pave the way.

Despite the far-out notion of a flying Humvee, Reid says the company's engineers are intrigued by the idea of pushing the envelope on aircraft technology, and the concept fits well with ideas they already have about combining manned and unmanned aircraft, particularly helicopters. While Reid jokes about flying cars not being in Textron's "five-year plan," he says the DARPA program is exciting because it allows the company to build off Carter Aviation's technology, and perhaps incorporate that into the Shadow UAV.

"Quite frankly, our hopes are quite modest," Reid says. "We don't have visions of fleet sales of flying Humvees quite yet."

Read more: Transformer Pentagon Flying Car Pics - U.S. Military Flying Car Pictures - Popular Mechanics


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Letter from Burma: Keepers of Conscience (Written By Aung San Suu KYi)

Photo: Aung San Su Kyi (Internet)
(Mainichi Japan) February 6, 2011
Is the story of Pinocchio still popular with children? It is when such questions arise in my mind that I am made acutely aware of the peculiar gaps in my contact with the outside world. Had I been in constant touch with my grandchildren or even with other people's grandchildren over the years, I would have known the answers. Fortunately a few days after Pinocchio had floated into my head, I had a meeting with the children of the United States Embassy staff in Rangoon. The oldest was around twenty while the youngest was a three month old Japanese-American baby boy whose sleeping face had a pout of concentration that made him resemble a Sumo wrestler planning his next mountain shaking move. Among the in-betweens were a fair number who were acquainted with Pinocchio through the Walt Disney Film. Most of them thought Jiminy Cricket was the most interesting character in the story. This pleased me as the main reason for my sudden recall of the Pinocchio story was the top-hatted, umbrella-toting cricket rather than the puppet brat.
Looking back across years of politically shaped thought and action, the children's story appears as a simple illustration of the fact that without a conscience, human beings are no more than mere puppets manipulated by their fears, their desires, their ignorance, and by those whom they have chosen to be their masters. It thus becomes most appropriate that thinking beings who have chosen to give up their physical liberty that they might be better able to defend the universal right to freedom of belief and expression should be designated prisoners of conscience. These men and women who have submitted their bodies to a comfortless, sometimes cruel, confinement over long years that they and their fellow citizens might exist in honour and dignity are also the keepers of our collective conscience.
There remain in the jails of Burma over two thousand two hundred political prisoners of whom barely twenty are known by name to the world at large. The more than two thousand who remain anonymous are our unknown soldiers, the unsung heroes and heroines who have worked quietly to keep the movement for democracy strong and vital. On 4 January 2011, the Sixty Third Anniversary of Burma's Independence from colonialism, the National Leagues for Democracy arranged a random draw of the names of political prisoners by those who were willing to take the responsibility of supporting them materially or morally as far as circumstances allowed. The young man who fell to my lot was one of the unknown soldiers. He had been arrested in 2007 for attempting to pray for the release of political prisoners at the Shwedagon Pagoda. Many of the young people who had all been involved in the prayer movement were now scattered in prisons across Burma but he was relatively fortunate as he was at Insein Jail, not too far away from his home. Preparing the food parcel to be sent to him was a reminder of the abstemious conditions under which our comrades in jail have to pass their days.
There are many simple ways in which prisoners of conscience act as the keepers of our conscience. When I was under house arrest, I made a habit of having breakfast quite late so that in my hunger I would not forget our comrades who were incarcerated not in their own homes but in jails, often in places far distant from where their families lived. I knew they would not only be much hungrier than I was but would also be obliged to make do with the meagre and tasteless rations that would be meted out to them. It renewed my commitment to our cause and refreshed my respect and affection for my colleagues on a daily basis.
The most wonderful thing about our keepers of conscience is their extraordinary spirit and dedication. During the two days before our independence anniversary celebrations, we held a charity bazaar to raise funds for political prisoners. Among the varied articles on sale were works of art of considerable ingenuity and talent sent in by our jailed comrades. There were a number of collage works painstakingly put together from hundreds and thousands of tiny slivers of paper of different kinds. The end products were vivid pictures of birds, dancers and flowers. It was a clear declaration that if the spirit is strong, there is no limit to what it can achieve and that those who seem least fortunate can prove to be our teachers and benefactors. I have often received the most exquisite gifts from colleagues in prison. Statuettes, model animals and toys intricately carved from wood or soap or wax; strings of prayer beads and shopping bags woven from strips of plastic; a piece of cloth beautifully embroidered with symbols of freedom, justice and peace, love, harmony and unity, perseverance and hope, all done by our women political prisoners. Skillfully and delicately worked into each embroidery were the unwavering hopes and aspirations that our women were holding out to those of us who were actually in far easier circumstances than they were. This is why the image of Jiminy Cricket with his colorful, dandified clothes and innate chirpiness seems to me an appropriate representative of conscience. The keepers of our conscience are cheerful, colourful, and inventive and most of all, they are creaters of comfort in spite of the comfortless lives they themselves have to lead. (By Aung San Suu Kyi)
(Mainichi Japan) February 6, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

Changi Airport sees 16% growth in retail sales!

By Lam Li Ting | Posted: 26 December 2011 1854 hrs
Travellers shopping at Changi Airport.
Photos 1 of 1

Travellers shopping at Changi Airport.

SINGAPORE: More cash registers are ringing at Singapore's Changi Airport. From January to October this year, the airport posted a year-on-year growth of 16 per cent from retail sales.

Commercial takings make up about half of the airport's revenue.

Shop as much as you want at Changi Airport's public areas without paying taxes - that is how Singapore's airport has been promoting itself as an attractive shopping destination to locals.

Ivy Wong, senior vice president of Airside Concessions with the Changi Airport Group, said: "The revenue that we actually gather from our (retail outlets) actually goes towards working out the air hub, strengthening the air hub, and creating the connectivity through Changi and through Singapore."

That means lower costs for airlines and better upkeep of facilities.

Naturally, the lion's share of the airport's commercial kitty is formed by spending travellers.

Takings from the airport's duty-free, transit areas account for 90 per cent of retail earnings.

Changi Airport said cosmetics, liquor, electronics, candies and luxury goods form the top five product categories by sales.

So what do the various travellers through Changi Airport like to spend their money on? The Europeans like electronics, the Chinese love their beauty products, while the Indonesians seem to prefer sweets.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Man falls from height near Sengkang MRT station

Singapore | Updated Sunday
By Stacey Chia

A man fell from a height while cleaning near Sengkang MRT station on Saturday.

He was sprawled on the floor covered in blood. It is not known how he fell or whom he was working for.

Netizens speculate that part of the ceiling may have collapsed and hit him, or he could have lost his balance and grabbed a metal piece that appeared to be attached to the ceiling.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) responded to the incident after receiving a call at 2.15pm.

Ref:straitstime news

Friday, December 23, 2011

Myanmar scraps taxes on overseas labourers!

Dec 23 (Reuters) - Myanmar's government has scrapped income taxes on the salaries of its workers employed overseas, the latest in a series of labour concessions by the country's new administration that include a new law legalising trade unions.

The new tax rules, effective Jan. 1, would prevent double taxation on the 607,000 workers registered with the Labour Ministry, who now contribute 10 percent of their salaries on top of taxes paid in the countries where there are employed.

It could also encourage more of the estimated 2.5 million unregistered workers based mainly in Malaysia and Thailand to formalise employment arrangements.

Many infomal Myanmar workers endure extremely low pay and poor working conditions and are often subjected to maltreatment by employers and extortion by police and immigration officials.

The tax concession follows the enactment of a labour law in October that allows workers to stage protests and set up unions, both of which were banned under the junta that ruled the country with an iron fist until ceding power to a civilian-led government on March 30.

The move was one of a series of reforms initiated by President Thein Sein, aimed at pushing for the lifting of Western sanctions and attracting much-needed foreign investment.

One area the government is keen to expand is the nascent tourism sector.

Faced with an acute shortage of accommodation, Myanmar is seeking domestic and foreign investment to renovate colonial-era government-owned buildings in the former capital, Yangon, to turn them into high-end hotels, a senior official at the country's Investment Commission told Reuters.

Tourist arrivals for the fiscal year (April-March) 2010-2011 stood at 424,041, according to official data, and the government expects that number to climb steadily as more reforms are undertaken and the country's image is improved.

At present, there are 570 hotels and 160 guesthouses across the country, with a total room capacity of 24,692.

"We expect tourist arrivals to reach one million in the near future, so we are desperately in need of expanding hotel capacity speedily," a senior official from the Hotel and Tourism Ministry told Reuters, asking not to be identified. (Reporting by Aung Hla Tun; Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Ron Popeski)


old news for tax-
DTASG · Avoidance of Double Taxation

This group is dedicated to removing the double taxation practice that Myanmar citizens living and working in Singapore are experiencing despite the fact that there is a Comprehensive Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) signed between Singapore and Myanmar.

For all new members joining this group, we suggest you read the FAQ document (to see it click the Files section on the left pane).

We have already established several communications and discussions with competent Singapore tax authorities in accordance with the procedure mentioned in the article 26 of Singapore - Myanmar DTA.

The law (the DTA) is clearly on the side of Myanmar Citizens and we have already formulated very clear strategies and execution plan on how to protect our rights and arrive at the satisfactory solution to this case.

Please join in this historic endeavour that will lead us to achieve fairness for all Myanmar Citizens living in Singapore.

Singapore Today: Your tax or your passport … – Jasmine Yin

See Website-

icam with iphone 5!

Not every great idea has to start in some companies expensive R&D department, and the iCam is no exception, taking everything you love about the iPhone 4S' existing camera and adding to it, ADR Studio seeks to do for the point and shoot camera what Apple has done with the mobile phone.
There is no question that Apple revolutionized and defined the way we not only listen to music, but how we purchase music as well. The very notion of the modern smartphone is centered on the late Steve Job’s vision and other companies are still trying to play catch-up to Apple’s revolutionary devices. Apple detractors might puff their chests and scoff at such a statement but, like with all things, time will tell whether Apple is deserved of such praise, or if such lofty remarks are simple hyperbole.
There is, however, another thing Apple has done well, (no not the iPad, but hey Apple did that very well too), which is implement an easy to use – quality camera into its smartphones. Small wonder then that ADR Studio has taken inspiration from the ubiquitous device and designed the concept you see here, the Apple iCam.
The iCam takes the iPhone’s acclaimed camera and builds upon its functionality by creating a device that offers all the intuitiveness of the iPhone. The iCam takes the minimalist design Apple is known for and adds an aluminum body, front touch screen, LED flash, Siri compatibility, and a front pico-projector.
Right now the iCam is simply a concept, but so was the new iPod Nano’s watch functionality — so you never know.

Singapore Workforce, 2011 & 2012 up to enhanced Employment pass framework!

30 November 2011

The employment rate rose to a new high in 2011, reflecting the sustained improvement among women and older residents. Amid a tighter labour market, the median income of residents in full-time employment rose faster than a year ago, even after taking inflation into account.

Foreigners who are interested to apply for work passes !

Strategic skills in demand

The Strategic and Skills-in-Demand List is a compilation of occupations that are key to supporting the growth of key economic sectors in Singapore. The compilation also lists the skill-sets that are expected to be in strong demand by industries in the coming years. Job-seekers may refer to this list to help them in their career planning.
The list was drawn up in consultation with the respective industries and relevant government agencies. MOM regularly updates the list to factor in labour market trends.
You can refer to the Career Compass for a description of the above occupations.
Foreigners who are interested to apply for work passes (either Employment Passes or S Passes) should take the Self-Assessment Tool prior to the submission of their applications. The self-assessment tool will provide a preliminary indication of the likelihood of obtaining the respective work passes.
You can download the full list of Strategic and Skills-in-Demand for more information

See Website-
Strategic skills in demand

Passes & Visas


Non-residents must hold a valid work pass before they can work in Singapore. Employers who hire foreigners without valid work passes can be prosecuted under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.
Enhanced Employment Pass Framework
From 1 January 2012, the qualifying salary for the Q1 Pass will be increased from $2,800 to at least $3,000 for young graduates, while older applicants would have to command a higher salary to qualify, commensurate with the work experience and quality they are expected to bring. The qualifying salary for the P2 Pass will be raised from $4,000 to $4,500. There will be no change in the qualifying salary for P1 Pass which remains at $8,000. Concurrently, educational qualifications requirements will be tightened. For more information, please refer to our press release.

Changes to Work Pass Administrative Fees
From 1 December 2011, administrative fees for most work passes will be increased. For more information, please refer to our press release and FAQs.

Foreigners can perform certain activities in Singapore for short durations without a work pass. Before engaging in these activities, they are required to submit an e-Notification to inform Ministry of Manpower. read more

For professionals

Employment Pass

The Employment Pass allows foreign professionals to work in Singapore. It applies to foreigners who earn a fixed monthly salary of at least $2,800, and have recognised qualifications. Employers must make applications for Employment Passes on behalf of a job candidate. Any change of employer will require a new application. read more

Personalised Employment Pass (PEP)

The Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) is for certain group of existing Employment Pass holders and overseas foreign professionals. Unlike an Employment Pass, which must be cancelled when the pass holder leaves the employer, the PEP is not tied to the employer and is granted on the strength of the applicant’s merit. A PEP holder can remain in Singapore for up to six months between jobs to evaluate new employment opportunities. read more


Foreign entrepreneurs who would like to start businesses in Singapore should apply for the EntrePass. read more

Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate

The Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate would be discontinued from 1 December 2011. The Ministry of Manpower will no longer accept any applications or appeals from that date. read more

For mid-level skilled workers

S Pass

The S Pass allows mid-level skilled foreigners who earn a fixed monthly salary of at least $2,000 to work in Singapore. Employers must make S Pass applications on behalf of a job candidate.
S Pass applications are assessed on multiple criteria including salary, education qualification, skills, job type and work experience. read more

For skilled & semi-skilled workers

Work Permit

A Work Permit (WP) is generally issued to foreign unskilled workers.

The duration of a Work Permit is generally two years, subject to the validity of the worker’s passport, the Banker’s/Insurance Guarantee, and the worker’s employment period, whichever is shorter. The worker is only allowed to work for the employer and in the specified occupation.

Specific variants of Work Permits allow foreigners to work as domestic helpers, confinement nannies and performing artistes. read more

For foreigners’ dependants

Dependant's Pass

Employment Pass holders and selected S Pass holders can apply for Dependant’s Passes for their spouse or unmarried/legally adopted children under 21 years of age. read more

Long Term Visit Pass

Employment Pass holders (P1, P2) can apply for Long Term Visit Passes for their common-law spouse, unmarried daughters above 21 years of age, parents, parents-in-law, step-children under 21 years of age or handicapped children above 21 years of age. read more

Short-term passes

Miscellaneous Work Pass

The Miscellaneous Work Pass is for foreigners working in Singapore on short-term assignments that fall into certain specific activity categories. read more

Work Permit for Performing Artistes

This work pass is for foreign artistes performing at any Public Entertainment Licenced bar, discotheque, lounge, night club, pub, hotel, private club or restaurant for a maximum of six months. read more

For students & foreigners undergoing training

Foreign students in Singapore are not allowed to work during term time or vacation time unless they are granted Work Pass exemption. The Training Work Permit, the Training Employment Pass or the Work Holiday Programme must be applied for foreign students who wish to take up any work. read more

Work Holiday Programme

The Work Holiday Programme (WHP) allows foreign university students and recent graduates, between 17 to 30 years old, to come to Singapore to live and work for up to six months. read more

Training Employment Pass

Foreigners undergoing practical training attachments for professional, managerial, executive or specialist jobs in Singapore should apply for a Training Employment Pass. read more

Training Work Permit

The Training Work Permit allows unskilled or semi-skilled foreign trainees undergoing practical training in Singapore to work for up to six months. read more

For Long Term Visit Pass holders

Long Term Visit Pass holders who wish to work in Singapore should apply for a Work Pass – an Employment Pass , S Pass or Work Permit. read more
For Long Term Visit Pass holders accompanying their children studying in Singapore, they are not be allowed to hold a work pass during their first year in Singapore. After the first year, they will be allowed to hold a work pass, and be employed in Singapore. read more

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cyber War-of-Words Escalation: China Goes on the Offensive against Google

cyber security,China,GoogleChina’s state-run Xinhua News Agency has struck back against Google following the Internet giant’s claims earlier this week that recent hacker attempts to steal G-mail user passwords appeared to have originated from China. Xinhua called Google’s statements "evil-intentioned" in an article published Friday and quoted Dai Yiqi, a cyber security researcher with Tsinghua University, as saying that Google’s assertion "is neither serious nor credible as it has not published any evidence that shows the hackers are from China."
The engineering director of the Google Security Team, Eric Grosse, initiated this exchange with China on Wednesday when he blogged about an attempt to hijack G-mail accounts using malware and phishing scams. The goal behind the incident seems to have been to monitor the contents of these users’ emails, "with the perpetrators apparently using stolen passwords to change peoples’ forwarding and delegation settings," Grosse wrote.
Xinhua took exception to the Grosse’s assertion that the effort to steal G-mail information "appears to originate from Jinan, China." The government-sponsored news agency quoted Li Shuisheng, a research fellow with a military science academy of the People’s Liberation Army, as saying Google’s post may well have instigated a new round of the ongoing cyber row between China and the United States. Xinhua expressed its view that Google is indirectly implicating the Chinese government in the cyber attack by stating that the hackers tried to collect G-mail account information from hundreds of users, including senior U.S. government officials, Chinese political activists, officials in several Asian countries (predominantly South Korea), military personnel and journalists.
The Sino-Mountain View, Calif.-dispute originated early last year after Google said it had been the victim of cyber attacks originating in China. This led to a Google ultimatum, displeasing to the Chinese government, that the company would no longer censor results on Google.cn, that nation’s version of the search engine.
As the standoff unfolded last year The New York Times, citing unnamed sources, reported that the attacks could be traced back to Shanghai Jiaotong University and Lanxiang Vocational School. Xinhua referred to this accusation earlier this week in an article about the bad blood between Google and China. "The [New York Times] report amused many Chinese at that time since Lanxiang Vocational School enjoys a good fame at training chefs for local restaurants," according to the Xinhua article.
Nevertheless, the U.S. government claims to take Google’s accusations against China seriously. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said earlier this week that both the State Department and FBI are investigating the attack against Google.
Google is just the latest of several large corporations claiming to have been victimized recently by hackers—others include Sony and government contractor Lockheed Martin. More than a month after an "external intrusion" felled Sony’s PlayStation Network, the company announced Wednesday that the network was back being fully operational for gamers. Shortly after shutting down PlayStation Network and Qriocity services on April 20 Sony revealed that between April 17 and April 19, "certain unencrypted PlayStation Network and Qriocity service user account information—including name, address, passwords, logins and online IDs—was compromised in connection with an illegal and unauthorized intrusion into our network."
Tracing the source of any hack typically proves problematic because cyber attackers are adept at routing traffic through servers located worldwide. As a result, simply determining the Internet Protocol (IP) address of a server launching an attack doesn’t guarantee that the attack originated there. This point was not lost on Xinhua, which quoted Dai as saying, "Hackers usually launch attacks by camouflaging their own IP addresses or controlling computers of others. Therefore, we can hardly tell the location of the hacker unless we have sufficient evidence." Scientific American Cross-Check blogger John Horgan likewise raised this issue in his most recent post.

Image courtesy of José Manuel Ferrão, via iStockphoto.com

Seeking Address: Why Cyber Attacks Are So Difficult to Trace Back to Hackers

Sony, Google, RSA and now Citigroup are just some of the prominent victims of cyber attacks as defenses at large organizations prove porous and attackers elude detection

By Larry Greenemeier | June 11, 2011 |19

PHISH AND CHIPS: Cyber attackers are known to break into poorly secured computers and use those hijacked systems as proxies through which they can launch and route attacks worldwide. Image: COURTESY OF ERWO1 VIA ISTOCKPHOTO.COM

Cyber attacks may not be a new phenomenon but the recent successes scored against high-profile targets including CitiGroup, Google, RSA and government contractors such as Lockheed Martin underscore the targets' current failure to block security threats enabled by the Internet. Malicious hackers use the very same technology that enables online banking, entertainment and myriad other communication services to attack these very applications, steal user data, and then cover their own tracks.

One common practice that attackers employ to evade detection is to break into poorly secured computers and use those hijacked systems as proxies through which they can launch and route attacks worldwide. Although such attacks are an international problem, there is no international response, which frustrates local law enforcement seeking cooperation from countries where these proxy servers typically reside.

Address unknown
Every day seems to bring news of some new cyber attack. "We're seeing more reports on invasive attacks on a much more regular basis," says Chris Bronk, an information technology policy research fellow at Rice University's James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy and a former U.S. State Department diplomat.

The hardest problem in finding the source of these attacks is attribution. Each data packet sent over the Internet contains information about its source and its destination. "The source field can be changed [spoofed] by an attacker to make it seem like it's coming from someplace it's not," says Sami Saydjari, president of the cyber-security consultancy Cyber Defense Agency and a former program manager of information assurance at the Defense Advanced Projects Agency (DARPA).

"If your network is under attack and you're trying to find out who's doing it, purely technical means are insufficient for that," says David Nicol, director of the Information Trust Institute at the University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign. "The way that we assemble complicated networks of computers until recently hasn't been done at all with security in mind except in a cursory way, and that's the fundamental problem."

By way of example, Nicol points out that he uses a virtual private network that connects to a proxy server before connecting him to the Internet. This enables him to encrypt data he sends over the network and protect the identity of his own Internet protocol (IP) address. "I do this to thwart information harvesting that commercial Web sites usually have," he adds. "I've got nothing to hide but that doesn't mean I want information about me harvested and sold."

Unfortunately, such tactics are also employed for malicious purposes. Cyber attackers use viruses, worms and other malware to take control of Internet servers or even personal computers, creating a network of "zombie" computers (also called botnets) under their control that they can use to launch their attacks. As a result, an attack may appear to come from a particular server or computer, but this does not mean the attack originated at that device, Nicol says, adding that often a string of proxies located in different countries are used in an attack, "greatly complicating the legal process of trying to piece it all together."


Saturday, December 17, 2011

2015 BMW ZX-6 Concept


Orbit wheel en Guatemala

Worst train breakdown in 24 years (SMRT train disruption Pt 1)

The perfect date: Expert tips (TP Dating Forum Pt 2)

Party central at ZoukOut 2011!

SINGAPORE - There were drizzles in the evening but that did not seem to deter partygoers from heading to ZoukOut 2011 for a night of hard-core dancing and boozing.
The much-anticipated annual beach party was held at Sentosa's Siloso Beach on Dec 10 from 6pm to 8am the following day.
While the rest of Singapore was heading for bed at 1am, it seemed the party had only just started as the crowd only swelled after midnight, according to The New Paper.
Organisers expected a crowd of some 30,000 people and those who turned up included not only Singaporeans, but foreigners from as far as the British Isles, Taiwan and Australia.
The prices of tickets for ZoukOut were up by $10 to $88 this year, but organisers promised more international acts and an extra two hours of partying.
If you missed ZoukOut 2011, take a look at all the action here.

Click on thumbnail to view (Photos: TNP)
Partygoers at ZoukOut 2011
Click on thumbnail to view (Photos: AsiaOne)


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